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Theo-Dur (Generic Theophylline)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Theo-Dur is a brand name for a medication that contains the active ingredient theophylline. Theophylline is a bronchodilator, which means it relaxes the muscles in the airways, making it easier to breathe. It is primarily used to treat conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Here are some common reasons why Theo-Dur may be prescribed:

  • Asthma: Theo-Dur can help open up the airways and improve airflow, making it easier for individuals with asthma to breathe.
  • Chronic bronchitis: This medication may be prescribed to manage symptoms of chronic bronchitis, which is a long-term inflammation of the airways.
  • Emphysema: Theo-Dur can be used to relieve symptoms associated with emphysema, a condition where the air sacs in the lungs are damaged, making it difficult to breathe.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Theo-Dur is sometimes used as part of the treatment plan for COPD, a group of lung diseases that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

How should this medicine be used?

Here are general guidelines for the use of Theo-Dur:

  • Dosage: The dosage of Theo-Dur is determined by the healthcare provider based on factors such as the individual’s age, weight, medical condition, and theophylline blood levels. The medication is usually taken once or twice daily.
  • Extended-release tablets: Theo-Dur is often available in extended-release tablet form, which means the medication is released slowly over an extended period. This allows for a more consistent and prolonged effect. These tablets are typically taken whole and should not be crushed, chewed, or broken.
  • Consistent timing: It’s important to take Theo-Dur consistently with regard to meals, meaning it should be taken either with or without food each time. This helps maintain steady blood levels of theophylline.
  • Full glass of water: The medication should be taken with a full glass of water to help ensure proper absorption and to reduce the risk of stomach upset.
  • Avoiding certain substances: It’s important to avoid or limit the consumption of substances that can affect the metabolism of theophylline, such as caffeine-containing products (e.g., coffee, tea, chocolate) and certain medications. Consult with the healthcare provider regarding specific dietary restrictions and potential drug interactions.
  • Regular monitoring: Healthcare providers may monitor theophylline levels in the blood to ensure they are within a therapeutic range. Regular blood tests may be necessary to adjust the dosage and minimize the risk of side effects.
  • Adherence to the prescribed schedule: It’s crucial to take Theo-Dur exactly as prescribed by the healthcare provider. If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as remembered, unless it is almost time for the next scheduled dose. In such cases, the missed dose should be skipped, and the regular dosing schedule resumed.

It’s essential to communicate with the healthcare provider about any concerns, side effects, or difficulties in following the prescribed regimen. If there are any questions or uncertainties about the use of Theo-Dur, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.

Other uses for this medicine

While the primary use of Theo-Dur is for respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema, theophylline (the active ingredient) has also been used for other purposes under the guidance of healthcare professionals. It’s important to note that any use of medications for conditions other than those approved by regulatory authorities should be discussed with and monitored by a healthcare provider. Some potential off-label uses may include the treatment of certain heart conditions.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special precautions should be taken when using Theo-Dur, and it’s crucial to follow the healthcare provider’s guidance. Here are some general precautions:

  • Medical History: Before starting Theo-Dur, inform your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, including any allergies, heart conditions, liver disease, kidney disease, stomach ulcers, seizures, and other relevant health information.
  • Drug Interactions: Theophylline can interact with various medications, including certain antibiotics, antifungals, seizure medications, and others. Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking to avoid potential interactions.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits of Theo-Dur with your healthcare provider. Theophylline can pass into breast milk.
  • Smoking and Alcohol: Smoking and alcohol consumption can affect the metabolism of theophylline. Inform your healthcare provider about your smoking habits and alcohol intake.
  • Other Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as heart rhythm disorders, congestive heart failure, and thyroid disorders, may require additional monitoring when using Theo-Dur. Your healthcare provider will assess whether the medication is suitable for your specific health situation.
  • Regular Monitoring: Theophylline levels in the blood need to be monitored regularly to ensure they are within a therapeutic range. Blood tests may be conducted to adjust the dosage and minimize the risk of side effects.
  • Symptoms of Toxicity: Be aware of signs of theophylline toxicity, which can include nausea, vomiting, restlessness, insomnia, seizures, and an irregular heartbeat. If you experience any unusual symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.
  • Dietary Considerations: Some dietary factors, such as caffeine intake, can affect the metabolism of theophylline. It’s important to discuss dietary considerations with your healthcare provider.

Always take Theo-Dur exactly as prescribed, and do not adjust the dosage without consulting your healthcare provider. If you have any concerns, questions, or experience side effects, contact your healthcare provider promptly. This information provides a general overview, and individual circumstances may require specific precautions or adjustments in consultation with a healthcare professional.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Special Dietary Instructions for Theo-Dur:

  • Caffeine Intake: Theophylline is related to caffeine and can increase sensitivity to caffeine. Discuss your caffeine intake, including coffee, tea, chocolate, and other sources, with your healthcare provider.
  • Consistent Diet: Maintain a consistent diet regarding meals and the timing of Theo-Dur administration to ensure steady blood levels.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

  • Take as Soon as Possible: If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule.
  • Do Not Double Dose: Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. Taking too much theophylline at once can lead to increased side effects and toxicity.
  • Notify Your Healthcare Provider: If you consistently forget doses or have difficulty adhering to the prescribed schedule, inform your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on how to manage missed doses or may adjust your treatment plan if necessary.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Theophylline, the active ingredient in medications like Theo-Dur, can cause various side effects. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and their severity can vary from person to person. If you are prescribed Theo-Dur, your healthcare provider will monitor you for potential side effects and adjust the dosage as needed. Common side effects of Theo-Dur may include:

  • Gastrointestinal Distress: Nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset are common side effects. Taking the medication with food or a full glass of water may help reduce these symptoms.
  • Nervous System Effects: Restlessness, insomnia, headache, and nervousness are possible side effects. If these symptoms are bothersome, it’s important to discuss them with your healthcare provider.
  • Increased Heart Rate: Theophylline can lead to an increase in heart rate (tachycardia). Notify your healthcare provider if you experience palpitations or a rapid heartbeat.
  • Muscle Twitching: Some individuals may experience muscle twitching, especially at higher doses.
  • Increased Urination: Theophylline can act as a diuretic, leading to increased urine production.
  • Gastrointestinal Bleeding: In rare cases, theophylline can cause gastrointestinal bleeding or stomach ulcers. Notify your healthcare provider if you experience symptoms such as black, tarry stools or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
  • Allergic Reactions: Allergic reactions to theophylline are rare but can occur. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms such as rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
  • Seizures: Theophylline may lower the seizure threshold, and in some cases, it can lead to seizures. Inform your healthcare provider if you have a history of seizures or any conditions that may increase the risk of seizures.

It’s important to report any unusual or severe side effects to your healthcare provider promptly. Additionally, theophylline levels in the blood may need to be monitored regularly to ensure they are within a therapeutic range and to minimize the risk of toxicity.

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects, and individual responses can vary. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized information and guidance regarding the use of Theo-Dur and the potential side effects you may experience

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Here are important considerations regarding the storage and disposal for Theo-Dur:


  • Store in a Cool, Dry Place: Keep Theo-Dur at room temperature in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and heat.
  • Avoid Sunlight: Protect the medication from direct sunlight.
  • Keep Out of Reach of Children: Store Theo-Dur in a location where children cannot access it.
  • Follow Expiry Date: Check the expiration date on the medication packaging and do not use it if it has expired.


  • Follow Local Guidelines: Dispose of expired or unused medication according to local guidelines and regulations. Do not flush medications down the toilet unless instructed to do so.
  • Community Take-Back Programs: Some communities offer take-back programs for the safe disposal of medications. Check with local pharmacies or law enforcement for information on such programs.
  • Ask Your Pharmacist: Your pharmacist can provide guidance on proper disposal methods and may be able to take back unused medications.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • Seek Emergency Medical Attention: If you suspect an overdose or experience severe symptoms such as seizures, severe nausea/vomiting, confusion, or an irregular heartbeat, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
  • Call Poison Control: In case of overdose, contact your local poison control center or emergency room. In the United States, you can call the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

What other information should I know?

  • Regular Follow-Up: Attend regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your response to Theo-Dur and adjust the treatment plan as needed.
  • Inform Healthcare Providers: Inform all healthcare providers involved in your care about the use of Theo-Dur, including dentists, emergency room staff, and specialists.
  • Interactions with Other Medications: Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking, as certain drugs and substances can interact with Theo-Dur.
  • Regular Monitoring: Theophylline blood levels may need to be monitored regularly to ensure they are within a therapeutic range and to prevent toxicity.
  • Patient Education: Understand and follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding the use of Theo-Dur, including dosage, timing, and potential side effects.

Always consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist for specific guidance tailored to your individual health situation. If you have any concerns, questions, or experience adverse effects, seek medical advice promptly.

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